Monthly Archives: April 2014

Academic news?

These days are a bit hectic. I do study Korean (reading my Korean intermediate reader seems a bit easier these days), but my upcoming final in June must take priority or I will regret it.

Last week has thrown me a bit off course, since I have “sort of” been offered to do a PhD. That is, I didn’t apply for one, but one of my professors has asked if I would find it interesting to participate in a specific research project as a PhD student. The project is really exciting so I immediately said yes. I have seen no official paper work, I haven’t signed anything, and the budget isn’t even confirmed, but two days ago, I saw that I’m listed by name in the application for the research grant, which literally made me feel a bit dizzy. It somehow makes it feel more final although there is no contract and no money yet. Hence the question mark in the title of this post.

I’m excited, but also a bit frightened to be honest since I haven’t had time to mentally adjust to the whole thing.

My study buddy’s comment was “you’ll end up being fairly well educated, huh?”. I guess that’s one way to put it hehe. Let’s see what happens…


Wow, it’s been a while since my last update.

After coming home from the crime fair I have met my language partners twice.
The first time we played two games which are conceptually simple, but are still really challenging for me. The first was to see a word that one of my partners had written down and then explain it to my other partner without using the word and let her guess the correct one. Whenever you feel you have progressed in your studies this exercise is excellent to make you realise just how much your vocabulary is lacking.
Afterwards we played the 끝말잇기 game, which was… an uphill battle. So much to learn!

The second time I met just one of my partners since the other was trying to recuperate from a football match (seriously). We focused on trying to describe pictures. I did better than last time, but it was still difficult.

Right now I’m sitting in the university library with my Korean books while everybody around me is studying something business-y or idling away their time on facebook.

For anyone who wondered about the crime book fair:
It was great! I had the opportunity to hear interviews with a forensic pathologist, a former criminal behaviour psychologist specialised in serial killings and very violent crimes, a journalist who has sources in the criminal environment, and lastly Robert Goddard who was interviewed about his most recent book. Naturally there were plenty of opportunities to buy a few books to. I’m already going on the third since coming back home.

When crime books I tend to get a little caught up in them. E.g. reading about a murder investigation while waiting for a train I overheard the following part of a phone call “the only thing I can tell you about tomorrow is to bring wellingtons”, which made me wonder what the heck they were planning on the following day.

Studying hanja

I’m slowly wrapping up the third chapter in Useful Chinese Characters for Learners of Korean.

Learning hanja is a time consuming process. First you look at a character and you might think “oh sh*t” (e.g. 萬 meaning: 일만, pronunciation: 만), then you go over it stroke for stroke and suddenly it doesn’t look as scary. If I can associate the character with some mental image I find that it’s easier for me to remember it. Just memorising stroke order works for some chacters, but it takes me longer to retain them. Mostly I cannot retain more than just a few characters per day.

I was revising hanja with one of my language partners this week, and whenever I had inevitably forgotten one, he would try to make me think of an image. E.g. 수 for 수요일 which has caused me some trouble. He told me to think of “ice”. At first I didn’t catch on.

水 meaning: 물, pronunciation: 수

It looks a bit like a snowflake, right?
By adding one stroke, you get “ice” which is of course just frozen water:

氷 meaning: 얼음, pronunciation: 빙

Now it looks a lot more like a snowflake, right?

As for the character 불, 화 (fire) in 화요일 I think of a person 人 running with arms in the air to escape the flames 火. It might be a bit childish, but it works for me.

It makes sense if you know that 人 is person, and once you put the person inside a box, you have the preposition “inside” 內 !

The concept of “radicals” is still difficult for me, but I guess it will come gradually as I work more with it and learn more and more characters.

Weekend off!

Today is my first day off without a lot of plans since… Actually I cannot remember… February?
It was a bit angst provoking leaving work yesterday and realise that I have no work for a week! Tomorrow I will go on a long weekend with my mum for a crime book fair held in an old prison a couple of hours from where we live – we both have a thing for criminology (in a non-creepy way) and we can get our quota of that (minus the smell) plus some quality time together this weekend.

We booked tickets in the silent zone in the train so we can both enjoy our books on the way there and in the evenings we will just relax as well. I will bring my hanja book for sure, but I haven’t decided on which other book to bring.

Hmm… What to bring…